HomeInsightsIMPRESS responds to Government’s Online Harms White Paper consultation

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IMPRESS has submitted its response to the Government’s consultation on its Online Harms White Paper.

In its submission, IMPRESS says that news publishers may be directly or indirectly affected by the proposals in the white paper. IMPRESS has also expressed concerns about the potential effects on press freedom and the broader framework for news media regulation in the UK.

IMPRESS encourages the Government to ensure that any future regulatory framework:

  • is tightly focused on the procedural responsibilities of platforms;
  • is operationally independent of the Government and Parliament; and
  • applies only to companies whose dominant purpose is to provide social media platforms, and not to news publishers.

IMPRESS considers that the distinction between these two is not sufficiently clear on the White Paper and is also not so cut and dry in our increasingly converged media ecosystem.

Jonathan Heawood, CEO of IMPRESS, said: “A regulatory framework that fails to differentiate between publishers and platforms would harm the plurality and diversity of the media economy, and limit freedom of expression”.

IMPRESS also highlights the potential lack of compatibility of the wide range of harms alleged to flow from disinformation and online manipulation with international human rights and urges the Government to work with existing regulators to ensure that there is a coherent legal and regulatory framework for political communications across all forms of media, and not just social media.

IMPRESS says that it will continue to engage with the Government to ensure that public interest journalism is not unduly affected by any future legislation. To access IMPRESS’s submission in full, click here.